CoStar sues RealMassive for copyright infringement

Suit claims that sharing platform prominently displays copyrighted photos on its site

From left: CoStar's Andrew Florance and RealMassive's Joshua McClure
From left: CoStar's Andrew Florance and RealMassive's Joshua McClure

CoStar Realty, a subsidiary of real estate research giant CoStar Group, is suing commercial real estate listings website and sharing platform RealMassive for copyright infringement.

In a suit filed in federal District Court in Austin, Texas, the research firm claims that RealMassive “prominently displays CoStar-copyrighted photographs, including those still bearing the CoStar logo and watermark” of commercial properties on their website, according to a press release from CoStar. RealMassive allegedly also used those pictures in marketing materials such as brochures.

The suit also claims that Joshua McClure’s RealMassive has tried to present itself as a sharing platform where property owners can upload photos. Roughly 100 pictures from CoStar were attached to the complaint, in an effort to prove that the website took the pictures directly from CoStar.

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“CoStar supports competition and innovation in the real estate information space, and recognizes the value of disruptive platforms in today’s rapidly changing technological environment,” Andrew Florance, founder and chief executive officer of CoStar Group, said in a statement. “However, RealMassive is not an example of innovation. Despite its rhetoric, the company is not a sharing platform. Rather, it is a subscription service that appears to be powered by content that is stolen from those who created it through hard work and investment.”

In April 2014, CoStar was involved in a similar suit when it claimed that some of CompStak’s users had shared and published CoStar’s proprietary data. Shortly after, a judge ordered CompStak to reveal the identities of those users. CoStar did not take any further legal action in the CompStak case. — Claire Moses